Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf accepted the resignations of 43 more Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf members of the National Assembly, it came to light on Tuesday.
Sardar Talib Naki and Prince Nawaz Allai, the two PTI MNAs who followed the party policy in the National Assembly, were spared due to their leave requests.
An important meeting of the Election Commission of Pakistan held on Tuesday to decide upon de-notifying the 43 MNAs remained inconclusive.
On Monday, the PTI leaders sent a request to the speaker through an email saying that they were withdrawing their resignations. They also informed the ECP that the speaker and the NA Secretariat had been apprised of their decision.
“If the speaker accepts the resignations, we should not be de-notified,” their request to the ECP stated. However, on Tuesday, the NA speaker said that 43 more resignations had been accepted, while that of two members had not been accepted due to leave requests.
The resignations of the PTI MNAs were approved in four phases since July 2022 – 11 in the first phase; 35 each in the second and third phases while 43 in the fourth one.
The lawmakers had resigned from the lower house of parliament in protest against the ouster of Imran Khan as the prime minister through a vote of confidence in April 2022.
The MNAs whose resignations were accepted included Riaz Fatyana, Haji Imtiaz Chaudhry, Lal Chand, Nosheen Hamid, Munaza Hassan, Saima Nadeem and Tashfeen Safdar.
The National Assembly sources said that the speaker accepted the resignations of the remaining 43 members on Jan 22 and sent them to the ECP, so the email and WhatsApp requests on Jan 23 were against the rules.
The resignations were accepted on Jan 22, so the withdrawal requests on Jan 23 were ineffective, they added.
After the approval of 43 more resignations, the total number has reached 124 – 123 PTI MNAs and one of Sheikh Rashid, the chief of the Awami Muslim League.
In a series of tweets, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said that the party had decided to return to the NA in "limited numbers" to remove Opposition Leader Raja Riaz, otherwise "this National Assembly has no representative status left for us to return to it".
محدود تعداد میں اسمبلی جانے کا مقصد راجہ ریاض کو اپوزیشن لیڈر کے عہدے سے فارغ کرنا تھا ورنہ اس قومی اسمبلی کی کوئ نمائندہ حیئثئت نہیں کہ اس میں واپس جائیں، اس وقت شہباز شریف حکومت 172 لوگوں کی حمائیت کھو چکی ہے اور حکومت بچانے کیلئے لوٹوں پر انحصار کر رہی ہے،— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) January 24, 2023
"At present, the Shehbaz Sharif government has lost the support of 172 people and the government is depending on turncoats [dissenting PTI MNAs] to save it," he added.
Fawad maintained that as a result of the speaker's actions to save Raja Riaz, 40% of the NA seats fell vacant and the country was inching closer to elections.
"The only solution to this crisis is national elections," he stated, questioning how long the government would avoid the nation.
راجہ ریاض کو بچانے کیلئے اسپیکر کے اقدامات کے نتیجے میں اس وقت 40فیصد نشستیں خالی ہو چکی ہیں، ملک انتخابات کے مزید قریب آگیا ہے، اس بحران کا واحد حل قومی انتخابات ہیں حکومت کتنا عرصہ عوام سے کترائے گی آخر فیصلہ لوگوں نے کرنا ہے اور فیصلہ ووٹ سے ہو گا— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) January 24, 2023
He added that the people would have to decide and the decision would be made through voting.
Earlier, Fawad had said that the decision to withdraw NA resignations was taken so that the party could take back the posts of the leader of the opposition and parliamentary party leader.
He added that the aim of the move was to get rid of the “fake” NA opposition leader and prevent “turncoats” from voting for Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the vote of confidence.
The PTI members also reached the National Assembly on Monday where the gates of the Parliament House were closed as the building was shut for three days due to a short circuit.
The PTI workers protested outside the Parliament House. Party leader Aamir Dogar said that closing the gate showed “cowardice”.
“Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja personally received our application and we requested him that the ECP must play its constitutional role here,” he told the media.
Flanked by Fatyana and other leaders, Dogar said the PTI delegation told the commission to treat the party’s decision justly and in the light of the Constitution.
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